Teams to test new hard tyres at Silverstone

2012 British Grand Prix

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Pirelli will bring an experimental new hard tyre compound for teams to test during practice at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The new tyre could be introduced later this season, but Pirelli are wary of making a change in case it is perceived to give one team an advantage in a championship which, so far, has been very close.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Silverstone is one of the most iconic circuits on the Formula One calendar, precisely because it is so demanding for the drivers, cars and tyres. This is why we have chosen to test a new experimental hard compound here during free practice, which we may use in the future.

“The new tyre has a slightly wider working range, which should make it easier for the teams to get the tyres into the right operating temperature window.

“But with the championship so finely balanced, our priority is to ensure that no one team is handed any particular advantage. We want to keep the performance of the tyres at the highest level for as long as possible, so this is a valuable opportunity for ourselves and all the teams to gather more information about the potential effect of a new compound, and gain some data for the future.”

Each driver will have one set of the tyres in addition to their usual allocation, which this weekend are the hard and soft tyres.

Pirelli test driver Lucas di Grassi said: “I tested the experimental hard compound tyre in Jerez earlier this year: it’s a similar concept to the current hard but with improved combined grip and better wear.

“It’s particularly effective in warm weather and when the track conditions are poor – so you end up with a tyre that is quicker and lasts longer.”

2012 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Teams to test new hard tyres at Silverstone”

  1. The new tyre has a slightly wider working range, which should make it easier for the teams to get the tyres into the right operating temperature window.

    So, they want to make racing boring again? Narrow tyre operating window is the main thing why this year’s championship is so interesting.

    1. I guess many people everywhere have been saying its too much on edge this year, that’s why Pirelli brings a tyre to change this.

      But as the article says, they are leaving the teams to test it and will only decide on using it to make it a tad less of a fickle to get the car to work with them only when everyone agrees. I see nothing bad in this.

      1. If you consider the game of chance that this years 8 races have been as the only thing that makes F1 exciting I fear for the future of F1. This announcement of a tyre with a broader operating range and capable of taking a little abuse is the best news I have heard on tyres this year, let the racing begin and may the best team win, even if it is RBR again. With EBD outlawed the cars are much closer in performance and I am hoping for exciting racing with the teams able to see where they are weak and others strong and able to work towards equality if not superiority, on a regular basis.

  2. NO! Leave the tyres alone, they are perfect. :)

    1. @brad-ferrari Nah. Consider the teams further, it’s fun to watch!

  3. There is absolutely no need to introduce a more durable tyre compound, at least not this season. If almost all teams / drivers prefer tyres with wider working range over the current ones, then OK, they can have them in 2013 but don’t change rules or conditions in the middle of the game.

    I’m not sure how to translate Pirelli’s intention ‘to keep the performance of the tyres at the highest level for as long as possible’ but previously they used to formulate their aim differently, namely, to provide tyres that would help improve ‘the show’. I hope it’s not pressure of some of F1’s self-proclaimed ‘chosen ones’ that has made them change their minds.

    1. I am not a ” chosen one” merely an “experienced fan” this tyre will be the same for everyone and will not be used exclusively, that is not a change of rules merely another option for the teams to employ.

  4. This is exactly what I have been wishing that they’d improve with the tyres. I don’t mind the high (and sometimes unpredictable) wear of the tyres, as this provides a lot of entertainment with the frequent pit stops and end of the race dramas of choosing between staying out and risking of losing pace very suddenly or doing another stop and risking loss of track position in return for vastly superior speed. But the narrow working window has made the start of this season (and the start of the last one as well) into a lottery of stumbling upon a working setup of the car with virtually no way of replicating it on the next day or in the next race.

  5. Before people start exclaiming the races will become boring again, you must note that these are experimental tyres which may or may not be introduced this season. Start complaining if they are introduced. Don’t complain before the teams have even tested them!

    1. @timi Of course that’s easy to understand, for most of us…

      1. Alain (@paganbasque)
        3rd July 2012, 7:57

        These tyres could change a lot before they are used in a race. No one complained about the narrow working window in winter but when the season started…

  6. @keithcollantine how will the FIA ensure that teams test the tyres at Silverstone? Wouldn’t they prefer preparing for the race instead?

    1. There is the point to doing so in that if Pirelli do decide to introduce them that particular team will have more experience with the tyre, but other than that I also see no point in running them.

      1. As in effect it means having an extra set of tyres on Friday, only rain on friday would keep the teams from running these tyres @malleshmagdum and @vettel1
        They can use them to do their basic setup work, the things that get done in FP1, where they normally use only one set of the harder compound.

    2. @malleshmagdum They don’t have to. The teams don’t have to test them if they don’t want.

    3. As @andrewtanner points out, any teams that are not interested in testing tyres they may well be racing on in a few weeks’ time don’t have to. But more fool them…

  7. Good, Hope they introduce them for the rest of the year from Germany on & we can get some proper racing again without all this constant tyre saving crap.

    Watching F1 have crap tyres while every other series on the planet has proper racing tyres that can be pushed has been embarrasing.

    1. It seems you’re in the minority on this one: European Grand Prix rated best race of 2012 so far

      1. But thank god for the minority, of which I am one. There was more to the European GP than tyre strategy to make it interesting, would it have been so popular if mechanical problems had not prevented Webber from qualifying on the front row and Vettel and Grosjean had not had DNFs, the podium would likely have been Vettel, Webber, Grosjean.

        1. Tom Haxley (@)
          3rd July 2012, 8:27

          I am also in this “minority” of which anyone I have spoken to in real life is also a part..

      2. Those rates means nothing, just because Pro Wrestling is very popular doesn’t mean it isn’t totally fake and that it would be ridiculous to call it a sport.

        Just like it is getting borderline false to call F1 racing, seriously.

    2. Hope they introduce them for the rest of the year from Germany on & we can get some proper racing again without all this constant tyre saving crap.

      You do realise that this isn’t an antidote to the “constant tyre saying crap”, right? This compound has a wider operating window, so they’re a little bit more forgiving than the current tyres, but that doesn’t mean they will be like the Birdgestone tyres circa 2010, where a driver can complete an entire race on one set of tyres.

      1. Exactly my point. I am no tyre engineer, and I don’t know how easy it is to change the operating window, wear level and grip level of the tyres independently, but from Pirellis comments, I have gotten the impression that they can pretty much produce everything that is requested from them (though this might be a bit of a marketing talk as well). If they can create a wider operating window with pretty much the same wear and grip at that window, and the same danger of suddenly “going off the cliff”, I believe it has the potential of making the races less of a lottery and at the same time more interesting as well.

        Take Button for example – it seems that at the start of the season he had a few races where he nailed the setup so that the tyres worked as they should, and he was racing for the podium as well. I don’t think that his lack performance comes from the lack of effort on his and McLarens part, so its reasonable to conclude that getting the tyres into the operating window can be extremely difficult for some cars and drivers.

        Next example might be Maldonado – he has been on and off all this season, and I think it can’t be entirely explained by track suitability and driver inconsistency. If he is, in fact, a great driver, he should be performing more consistently, and if he is not, his win and superiority at Barcelona was purely because they stumbled on a very good setup which they can’t replicate any more.

        I could bring several more examples where I suspect that most of the performance (or lack of it) in a driver can be attributed to the tyres, and on the whole I think we might have seen an even closer field of cars and drivers fighting for podium this year (even if at a cost of a few less different winners), with somewhat easier to configure-for tyres.

        Of course I might be wrong, and Red Bull or McLaren might have run away with the WCC and WDC by now, if they had an easier time setting their cars up, leaving others having a close contest for only third and fourth places, but with the average performance of the mid-field being much closer to the top on average as well, not only in select races, I do tend towards the even-closer-battles-for-the-wins scenario, with a lot less complaints of artificiality.

        One way or another, I think its a good thing that Pirelli are trying to improve, even if I am wrong about this years potential outcomes with different tyres. There is, after all, always room for improvement.

        1. To elaborate more on the driver examples (long comments tend to let me wander off from the original point) – I think that there is a possibility that Button could have been shuffling the cards at the podium even more in recent races, if he had an easier time with the tyres. Also, Massa could have grabbed a podium or at least given a good fight for some. Also, both Saubers might have given an even better show in some cases. Maldonado is a hard call, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he had potential to fight for the podium in more races, even given his personal errors.
          Schumacher and Räikkönen are a bit harder to call – in their case it seems that their performance has been affected by other factors more than it has been by tyre operating windows.
          Force India is difficult for me to assess as well – either they haven’t had the same luck on finding car setups as some others have, or they are genuinely slower than Mercedes, Sauber and Williams.

          Taking all that and assuming that RBR, McLaren (and to some extent, Ferrari) wouldn’t have gotten a significant boost, the top would be even closer together, and with more drivers to have a say.

          There is one shortcoming, however, as I would expect the backmarkers to be further away from the midfield than they are now.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys, the operative word was CONSTANT tyre management.
        No one is disputing a place for tyre management in F1, it is the CONSTANT need to manage the tyres, even/especially on the out-lap after a tyre change that is spoiling real racing.

        1. @hohum – Formula 1 has always been about constant tyre management.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys, once again you contradict yourself, are you not one of the people decrying the bullet-proof nature of previous tyres as a reason we need the current style of tyre.

          2. @hohum – No, I’m not contradicting myself. I just don’t believe that tyre management was invented this year – just as Nigel Mansell and Gerhard Berger proved back in 1990.

          3. @prisoner-monkeys, How many times do you need to be told, these tyres can be ruined in the first 2 laps of use, that has never been the case before, when tyres lasted the length of a race they sometimes wore out towards the end of a race but generally performance drop off was gradual and limited to the latter stages of the race and affected all drivers similarly. The reason we know about these famous battles is because saving tyres was considered a cunning tactic not the norm.

          4. How many times do you need to be told, these tyres can be ruined in the first 2 laps of use, that has never been the case before

            Did I say that?

            No, I did not. You have this bizarre ability to put words in my mouth.

            I simply said that tyre management has always been a factor in Formula 1. When Ayrton Senna won at Donington in 1993, do you think it was because everyone else mistakenly put milk in their engines before the start of the race? No, Senna won because he was always on the right tyre at the right time. For some reason, you’ve constructed my comments as “the tyres have always been as fragile as the current Pirellis”.

  8. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    2nd July 2012, 22:24

    Haha… no not too fast for me… well as a driver yes maybe. The fastest single seater I’ve driven is an old F3 car. The point is it’s easy to change the rules to make the cars go faster or slower. The question is how fast is fast enough for you?

    As for carbon fibre brakes what does it mater? The wheels don’t know what’s slowing them down. What matters is the brakes are strong enough to lock the wheels in the dry. That means it takes skill to brake.

    F1 this year is the closest it been for years and years. It also has the best drivers and the fastest most technical cars in racing today. There is no pleasing some people.

    1. I’n not sure if you are referring to me with “some people” (I made the post you are answering I think, it’s just gone)

      Anyways I was personally plenty pleased with, say the year 2000 series, (remember icemans legendary overtake on Schumacher on Spa? I was there:), wouldn’t have happened today, instead it would have been just a drive by)
      Proper engines, proper drivers, proper everything. Even the years with grooved tires was better, at least they were flat out for what the tires could take instead of doing tire conservation for the entire race.

      1. It’s a fact, you are not correct. I too watched that move by Hakkinen and it wasn’t just a move but whole package, build up and anticipation.

        This season we had plenty more overtakes and wheel to wheel action in non-DRS zones, sure we did have plenty of DRS zone overtakes too.

        As much as I want drivers to drive flat out, there is just not enough “random” factor for drivers to exploit to gain enough advantage over front running driver and convert it into over take. Especially when teams are so close in performance.

        You have to remember in 60-70, brakes played similar role as tyres today. You couldn’t push them 100% all the time, you needed to pick your fights.

  9. So teams will get less time to get in shape for the race it self?

  10. Great! Such a pity that the chances of using slicks this weekend is limited…

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